Film Year: 1959
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Starring: Bela Lugosi (kinda), Tor Johnson, Vampira, Gregory Walcott, Lyle Talbot, and Criswell
Commentator: Michael J. Nelson
Sigh. It's Plan 9 from Outer Space. Pardon me if I come off as unenthusiastic, but as someone who writes a blog that in a way celebrates the neglected and unknown films of cinema, I'm faced with discussing one of the most exposed, discussed, and celebrated bad movies ever made. Do I have anything to add to the discussion? Not really. To know what makes Plan 9 a bad movie is to watch it. Everything that is poor about it is apparent on the screen and even a four-year-old could plainly see that there just is something not that good about this movie.
Plan 9 is noted filmmaker Ed Wood's magnum opus. A cautionary tale about the dangers of spray-painted paper plates and stock footage of Bela Lugosi. Aliens from outer space invade and reanimate the corpses of the recently deceased in an attempt to take over the world. However rather than doing anything nefarious, they just kind of hang around a cemetery and wait for people to come to him.
Regardless of whether or not I have much to say about Plan 9, I cannot stress enough how much I love the movie. It really is one of the finest bad movies ever made, where so many things go wrong that something went gloriously right. It's very much a "Springtime for Hitler" scenario. How many other films can make that claim? Birdemic? The Room? As much as I love both, there is a certain special feeling that I get when watching Plan 9 that I personally don't feel when watching those.
Of course the naive film fan states it's easily the worst film ever made, bar none. People who follow these various riffing projects snicker at the very thought of that. However I guarantee that if Plan 9 were indeed the worst movie ever made the world of film would have been a much sweeter place.
I've never been a fan of the Rifftrax versions of Plan 9, as I don't even believe the Live show is really all that great. I always thought it was weird that they didn't hit a home run with this movie because I recall enjoying the initial solo commentary of this film quite a bit. Or perhaps I just overrated it in my head because I've always enjoyed this movie so damn much.
Revisiting this commentary all these years later, I recognize a lot of the same jokes of the later versions of this riff, yet for some reason I'm laughing more. It's a strange sensation. Maybe I think Mike is delivering them better here than in later versions, but I think another possibility is that I just have lower expectations for a solo riff over a group one.
But I can safely say that there are certain things I appreciate more in this riff over the others. I do like that Mike doesn't over rely on the "Cover Nipples!" gag during the alien salute. He says it once or twice, but he doesn't beat a dead horse like other riffs of this film. Mike has a fairly appropriate energy to take this film on by himself, and the effort is like watching this lovable movie with a friend.
To be frank, this is just a much more pleasurable experience than other riffs of this film, and I don't think it's because it's "superior." It's one of Mike's better commentaries, and it's just an overall fun experience. Mileage may vary though.
The DVD and Blu-Ray
Legend Films featured this commentary on their colorization line. It's also one of the few times they've released one of these films on blu-ray in addition to DVD. The film is offered in both black and white and color versions (the commentary works on both), featuring mostly fine video with occasional scratches and video flaws, while audio was solid. The colorization is actually one of Legend's best. Skin tones look natural and setting looks quite good. They also have quite a bit of fun here and there, adding to the goofy charm of the film. The ghouls are given whiter tones than the living, while there is also a point in which one of the aliens turns green.
Special features feature fake deleted scenes which end on a gag, as well as Mike humorously explaining what Plans 1-8 were (my favorite is Plan 3). There are also some real bonus materials, including four commercials directed by Ed Wood, two minutes of Ed Wood's home movies, and the option to watch the film with a trivia subtitle track. There are also colorized trailers for more Legend releases, including Plan 9 from Outer Space, House on Haunted Hill, Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness, and The Three Stooges in Color.